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Date of Award


Degree Type

Dissertation (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Paula Truax

Second Advisor

Jay Thomas

Third Advisor

Michel Hersen


Little is known about how therapists successfully create environments that encourage change or whether the skills necessary to do so can be effectively trained. Reinforcement and motivation are mainstays of therapy and, therefore, a necessary part of training for people who aspire to be effective motivators. This dissertation will review current literature for theoretical and research based practices which focus on the concepts of "praise" and "encouragement" from a therapeutic perspective and test the question of whether related therapeutic skills can be trained with novice practitioners. The literature review will address different theoretical perspectives on the types of verbal reinforcement, followed by the research, as well as how different types of reinforcement work in a variety of settings. Finally, this review will end with a summary of previous findings and a description of the current research.